Seeking Advice: Transitioning from Skinny Fat to Muscle Building with Bodyweight Training

Hi everyone,

I’m a 26-year-old guy who’s relatively new to bodyweight training. I used to fall into the “skinny fat” category with little muscle mass and excess fat around my belly. Since February 23, I’ve been following a bodyweight workout plan at home, initially doing it six days a week with one rest day. I also followed a low-calorie diet based on my instinct (not measured btw).

Here’s what my routine looked like in the first month (3 sets):

Jumping jacks (30 sec)
Rest (15 sec)
Push-ups (10)
Rest (15 sec)
Double crunches (15)
Rest (15 sec)
Bear crawls (30 sec)
Rest (15 sec)
Squats (15)
Rest (15 sec)
Mountain climbers (30 sec)
Rest (15 sec)
At the end of 3 sets, I also did calf raises (full range of motion) - 1x50, 1x30, and posture stretches (10 reps).

Starting April, I increased the set count to 4 because I didn’t feel tired or burnt out anymore with just 3 sets.

Over time, I reduced my rest times and increased the intensity of my workouts. I managed to drop my weight from 72kg to 69kg and noticed visual changes, especially in reducing my “man boobs” and losing some belly fat. I stuck to my schedule, reduced sugar and oil intake, and disciplined my routine, which gave me a good foundation for a HIIT program.

Now, I’m at a point where I feel skinny but want to focus on building muscle mass while still reducing excess fat around my belly. I’m looking for advice on creating a muscle-building bodyweight routine and a suitable diet plan to support it. I’m determined not to stay stuck in this skinny body anymore.

How should i move forward?
Any guidance on how to move forward would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Is there a particular reason you want to limit yourself to just bodyweight exercises?

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Is there a reason you don’t want to use external resistance?

At a very high level, it looks like you’re losing weight while doing the same body weight exercises for the same rep counts. Even though you added a round, you’re actually regressing the hypertrophic stimulus. Building muscle, especially with relatively light loads (percentages of your body weight, in this case) requires an intensity approaching failure.

I’m not saying you can’t build muscle with calisthenics (but I do think it’s a little less efficient), but you’ll have to do more difficult movements, closer to failure, and progressing over time. Pull-ups and dips are fantastic, as are split squats and the like. If this is the route you want to go, you may want to learn gymnastic movements. I believe you’re going for a look, so you don’t have to be huge; you need good muscular development and to be lean.

Ha!!

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